Donald Trump has predictably pulled a 180 on controversial statements he made early Wednesday about a punishment for women who receive abortions. The Republican frontrunner told Chris Matthews of MSNBC that there should be “some form of punishment” for women who have abortions. The candidate was unable to clarify what punishment he meant specifically.
Candidates from both sides of the aisle have weighed in on Trump’s statement. John Kasich called Trump’s statements “inappropriate,” while Hillary Clinton called his speech “intolerant” and took to her Twitter account to say so.
Just when you thought it couldn't get worse. Horrific and telling. -H https://t.co/Qi8TutsOw9
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) March 30, 2016
Trump submitted a pair of statements on Wednesday afternoon, only hours after his initial controversial statement. In an email to Bloomberg Politics, he wrote that “this issue is unclear and should be put back into the states for determination. Like Ronald Reagan, I am pro-life with exceptions, which I have outlined numerous times.”
Following more backlash from abortion rights supporters over his initial comments, Trump issued a second statement later on in the day.
‘If Congress were to pass legislation making abortion illegal, and the federal courts upheld this legislation or any state were permitted to ban abortion under state and federal law, the doctor or any other person performing this illegal act upon a woman would be held legally responsible. Not the woman. The woman is a victim in this case, as is the life in her womb. My position has not changed. Like Ronald Reagan, I am pro-life with exceptions.’
This is a huge deal for Donald Trump, as a candidate who campaigns predominantly on force of personality and a public perception that he’s a straight-shooter who sticks to his guns. Abortion continues to be a controversial and complex issue in America, and Trump has demonstrated a complete disregard for the subtleties surrounding the issue. He’s already polling abysmally bad with women, with 47% of Republican women saying they could not see themselves voting for him. If the public no longer perceives Donald Trump as an anti-politician who is deeply grounded in his beliefs, it could be the beginning of the end for his campaign.
Image is a screen capture from the video.